President Obama made a not so rare public appearance on David Letterman as part of his trip to New York and the overall interview was more illuminating and worth watching than any of the Sunday morning interviews Obama did with the main stream press.
Obama seems more at home in a setting like that, casual and low pressure than he has at his record breaking number of press conferences and may have done himself some good in restoring some of his eroding popularity numbers.
Letterman, though not a journalist, asked better questions and in a smarter way than any of the journalists who do that sort of thing for a living. Aside from a couple of softball questions about his daughters summer vacation, Letterman asked relevant questions and Obama gave some specific answers.
Obama’s best moment came discussing Jimmy Carter’s silly assertions that the opposition to Obama’s policies were based on race whch can be seen in the video below.
But the entire trip to New York may have fueled his critics contentions that Obama has too much on his plate.
He made a speech at a community college in Troy New York on his education initiatives, did the Letterman show, and will make a speech before the UN General Assembly. He is dealing with economic issues, rising opposition within his own party to the war in Afghanistan, and of course the main issue dominating the moment, healthcare reform, the issue that, like it or not will define the success or failure of his presidency.
A hoped for summit in New York with Abbas and Netanyahu to discuss elements of the peace process has little chance of materializing.
The fact that the interview which last about 40 minutes contained some real humor only added to what was a genuinely informative appearance, more so than any of Obama’s press conferences.
While no one knows what Obama’s future will be, if Letterman ever decides he’d rather do Meet the Press, he has a future.